December went as a bit of a blur. No sooner back from Australia than plunged into the Yuletide season. Very nice lights and decorations everywhere – we needed them to cheer us up. However, at the same time, my body went into catatonic shock with a drop of some 26 degrees in temperature. Also, what is usually a gradual descent into the turning of the year became a sharp fall. Reduction at high speed!
Then tumbled into birthday – me being a Sagittarius!
Saturn is crossing my Sun – the first time for 30 years, so severe pruning afoot.
Still, the Winter Solstice was soon upon us – at 10.44 precisely on December the 21st to be exact.
From now on, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, the Sun is moving back towards us. Or, at least, that is how we sense it; actually, it is the other way around, of course – we are moving towards it. Either way, the sunlight is strengthening all the time now.
Christmas decorations: I obtained a tree. Much controversy about whether to have a real one or not these days. But, the ones I buy are cultivated precisely for Christmas and from sustainable resources. There is something about having the Tanenbaum within the house for the period of the festival: whether it be the birth of Christ, the birth of the Oak King, Yule, St. Nicholas, Wassailing, or Saturnalia.
When you are unmarried and without children it is a strange time of year because everyone seems to be gravitating towards parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren. Best a time of quiet reflection is called for at the changing of the year. I certainly enjoy the food and cooked myself a Christmas cake:
Before that, there was time for some cultural activities. I attended the American Expressionism exhibition at the Royal Academy in London:
Good range of artists from the 1940s and 50s, including a fine selection of Rothko painting which always somewhat take my breath away. Pollock also represented well with a wider range of his work than is the norm.
The Beyond Caragaggio exhibition at the National Gallery, London was also excellent and was able to show the influence he had on a number of painters around his at the time he lived: 1571-1610. Realism and light seem to be the defining features of his art, and were appropriated by others – for a period at least. It really is about subject-object – something that Shakespeare was working on at the same time.
I also went up to London to pick up my lovely Gibson J45 guitar:
This is circa 1959, and I bought it from Robert Fripp some years back. It has been in for a service by Tom Mates who is actually a fine guitar maker and technician. He does the guitars for Ralph McTell, so know what to do and – more importantly – what not to do with old Gibsons. I spent a lovely morning chatting with his and trying his various guitars – all excellent, but I particularly liked a small parlor guitar. He also has a fine collection of National steel guitars from the 1920 and 30s – these are the ones with a metallic resonator. Each one an absolute beaut. with all the markings of their past lives. Lovely muted sounds.
Part 1 of my piece on King Crimson 1 1969 was posted on the DGM webpage.
This is an extension of my writings on musical biography. Parts 2 and 3 are to appear in the future and I am also working on further pieces taking the essays up to 1975, which is the first natural cut-off point for King Crimson.
There after, plans for 2017 – Paris, Norway, Germany, India, Argentina, Brazil, Australia. Well, some of those…we’ll see which crystalise…